welcome to newsday, on the bbc. i'm rico hizon, in singapore. the headlines: has benjamin netanyahu done enough to win a fourth term as israel's prime minister? early election results suggest it's too close to call. benjamin netanyahu's main rival calls for unity. translation: benjamin netanyahu did not manage in his mission. we have proved the blue and white succeeded and is here to stay. tens of thousands are hospitalised in indonesia, as huge forest fires sweep the region creating a toxic haze.
i can smell a distinct smell of smoke coming from the burning pit land and also from the forest fire. i'm kasia madera, in london. also in the programme: after the collapse of afghan peace talks, a top spokesman for the taliban tells the bbc it's still willing to negotiate. the role women scientists played in india's space programme has been largely ignored, now a new film is putting them centre stage. live from our studios in singapore and london, this is bbc world news — it's newsday. hello and welcome to the programme. it's 8am in singapore, i in the mornng in london and 3am in israel, where the general election has, it seems, failed to produce a clear winner.
exit polls suggest both the current prime minister, benjamin netanyahu, and his main rival, benny gantz, could be in with a chance of building a governing coalition. that, won't be clear for a while. the final result though, will have huge consequences for an increasingly tense middle east region. our correspondent barbara plett usher is in jerusalem. rico, what we have seen is that benjamin netanyahu has lost, and his opposition has not won — that is how one israeli television anchor put it. and it means that the initial exit polls show that mr netanyahu's party is slightly behind his main challenger, so the race is too close to call and it will have to be settled in protracted coalition negotiations over the coming days and weeks. here is how the drama of the day played out. israeli tv exit polls showed no decisive victory for any side. the votes will be counted through the night,
but it could take weeks of coalition horsetrading before the next government and prime minister emerge. the election has been a referendum on benjamin netanyahu's last ten years in office. he is israel's longest—serving prime minister. his main rival is retired general, benny gantz, from the blue and white party. some of his supporters fear he was politically naive not to press harder on corruption charges faced by mr netanyahu, which the prime minister denies. in opposition strongholds in tel aviv, queues of voters were waiting and hoping to end mr neta nyahu's political career. what's wrong with netanyahu? everything? what's not wrong with him? he's corrupted, he hates everyone, he rules in fear, he's too much right wing.
but mr netanyahu has a reliable support from ultra religious israelis, who have their own political parties. just before the vote, they rallied in jerusalem. in exchange for privileges for their community, they've supported mr netanyahu's premierships. why am i going to vote? because that is what my rabbi tells me to do, and that's what i'm going to do. who would you like as the next prime minister? i guess netanyahu, that's what the rabbis say. the power of the ultra religious has become one of israel's most divisive issues. mr netanyahu was, as usual, a formidable campaigner, even starring in his own commercials. in this one, he puts hikers back on the right track, while losers follow untrustworthy guides named after his opponents. israelis have been offered
more personal insults than policy debates. mr netanyahu's message was that he's the only one, with his powerful friends, to protect israelis from iran and the palestinians. in a close race, he upped the ante by promising to annex the occupied jordan valley, around a third of the land palestinians want for a state. it was an extravagant gambit to keep the votes of the israeli right. in the valley, it's harvest time for date farmers — palestinians and israelis who have settled here since it was captured in the 1967 war. khader hermeidat, a palestinian farmer, says he was scared by the prime minister's promise of annexation. translation: where is the peace that he is talking about? netanyahu, he wants to take our land and we live from it. annexation will be off
the agenda if mr netanyahu cannot form a government after all the votes are counted. on walkabout in tel aviv, this could be the politician the prime ministerfears most, once the coalition negotiations start. polls suggest his party, called israel our home, has made significant gains. this man, avigdor lieberman, may become the kingmaker after the election. his party might control the balance of power, when it comes to forming the next governing coalition. one important factor though, he used to be a major ally of the prime minister benjamin netanyahu, and now they are opponents, even enemies. after the exit polls, mr lieberman's supporters were the only ones that were celebrating. if the results back that up — polls are not always accurate — then the netanyahu's era in israeli politics is ending. jeremy bowen, bbc news, tel aviv.
within the past half hour, benny gantz of the blue and white has been speaking. translation: by the results we have at the moment, it looks like for the second time the citizens of israel have given us our belief. more than a million citizens have said no to incitement and yes to unity, no to corruption and yes to unity, no to corruption and yes to honesty, no to attempts to destroy the israeli democracy but yes to keep israel as a jewish democratic state. benny gantz speaking within the next few minutes and we are expecting benjamin netanyahu and we are expecting benjamin neta nyahu to speak and we are expecting benjamin netanyahu to speak as well and we will bring that to you.
but now lets turn our attention to the uk. britain's supreme court is being asked to decide whether prime minister borisjohnson behaved lawfully when he suspended parliament, for longer than is usual. in court that decision was described as an "abuse of power", to stop parliament interfering in brexit. but those arguing for the prime minister believe he was acting in a political capacity which has nothing to do with the law. dominic casciani explains. all afternoon we have been hearing from lord keen, now he is the advocate general for scotland, who is the government's top lawman in edinburgh and, in effect, what his argument has been for the last two hours is there is nothing here for the court to decide because it is effectively a political question when and how a prime minister advises the queen to prorogue or close down parliament ahead of the next queen's speech. that in essence is the nub of the government's argument. the elephant in the room though
here is a complete absence of any clear arguement from the prime minister himself, about why he prorogued parliament for five weeks. there is, we learnt today, no witness statement from borisjohnson explaining his rationale or his thinking. the case against him, the counsel raised against him, they are really hanging a lot on that in the coming days. the government says that is irrelevant because he has the power to close parliament and he used it lawfully. dominic casciani there on the brexit court case. also making news today: us officials say they've identified the exact locations in iran from which they believe an attack on saudi oil facilities was launched on saturday. the broadcaster, cbs, says more than twenty drones and cruise missiles were fired. iran insists the projectiles came from houthi rebels in yemen. russian coastguards say they have seized two north korean boats and more than 80 crew members, which it says were engaged in illegalfishing. a spokesperson for the russian federal security service said the two schooners were spotted poaching near the yamato bank
in the sea ofjapan, which lies between the korean peninsula, russia and japan. isreal‘s not the only country where forming a government is complicated. spain is facing another general election, following an announcement by king felipe that no political leader has enough support to form a government. the sociliast prime minister, pedro sanchez, has been unable to reach a deal with rival parties. in more sporting news, sarah thomas, a former cancer patient, has reached her goal of becoming the first person to swim the english channel continuosly four times. the 37 year—old, from colorado, set off on sunday, and completed the stunning feat of endurance, after swimming for sa hours and ten minutes.
this week, we're reporting on the grim situation in afghanistan, where peace talks have collapsed and there's been a spike in violence. on tuesday, there were two separate suicide attacks that killed 48 people. the taliban have said they were behind both blasts, but the organisation insists it does want talks with the united states to continue. our chief international correspondent lyse doucet has been speaking to sher mohammad abbas stanikzai, the head of the taliban central delegation. we say that negotiations is the only way for peace in afghanistan so that is why we have started negotiations with the american side so we hope that the american side, they should, especially the president, mr trump, should listen to his negotiation team, the head of the negotiation team, mr khalilzad, and he should ask the report from him but i know there are lobbies and some people which are against peace in afghanistan because they see their business in the war in afghanistan and we hope that mr trump should not listen to
to those people to continue the war in afghanistan because the war is not in their interest and as well it is not in our interest. the american say that the negotiating process is dead. what do you say? from our side, our doors are open for negotiations. so we hope the other side also rethink their decision regarding negotiations. but they say they need more proof. why not show that you can stop your fighters from carrying out attacks? why don't you make a gesture? you see, this applies to both sides. why the foreign forces cannot stop the fighting? every day there are tens of air raids and bombardments and target killings and civilian bombardments, and these things are going on from both sides. why are you going to russia, and we understand to china, what are you trying to do now? we would like to seek their help regarding peace. we have talked to russia
and we have discussed peace, how we can bring peace in afghanistan because of the last decision by the american side. it was a one—sided decision so we requested that they should work on this so they have promised us, russia has promised, and other friendly countries, they are also working hard on this, this peace agreement, which was finalised by both sides and should be implemented and they are trying war should end peacefully and through negotiations in afghanistan. the taliban there talking to the bbc‘s lyse doucet. and just to bring you a news update, a short time ago, the us secretary of state, mike pompeo, has released a statement, saying: "through these attacks, the taliban demonstrate blatant disregard for the people and institutions of afghanistan. for afghans to truly reconcile, the taliban must begin to demonstrate a genuine commitment to peace rather than continue the violence and destruction that causes such inordinate harm to the afghan people
and the future of their country." any reaction to that, of course, we will bring it to you. let's go back to the elections in israel. so far exit polls suggest there's no clear winner. they do tend to have a bit of a discriminatory nature to them. so where does this leave israel and netanyahu? naytan sachs, the director of the center for middle east policy, explains. sometimes the bosses think it is a left—wing strategy to bring benjamin
netanyahu. left—wing strategy to bring benjamin neta nyahu. but as left—wing strategy to bring benjamin netanyahu. but as a whole, this was a huge failure. this was a referendum on him. the reason there are even elections for the second time in six months is because he is trying to hold onto power. if these results hold and he cannot have 67 and the majority of 120, he has failed. he may manage to cling onto power in some kind of national unity government but it will not be his alone and he is in deep legal trouble because he will face it without the prime ministership to protect him. when we talk about this potential for a unity government, avigdor lieberman is described as kingmaker. once in a light now an enemy of benjamin netanyahu, how will that work out for benjamin neta nyahu ? will that work out for benjamin netanyahu? the irony is that if we saw these same result in april, we would say benjamin netanyahu one. the reason we're saying that is
because avigdor lieberman has broken ran considerably since then from benjamin netanyahu. he was a close ally in the 1990s and was a foreign minister in his government. avigdor lieberman says benjamin netanyahu as wea k lieberman says benjamin netanyahu as weak and someone who caves under pressure and he is probably enjoying this pressure, enjoying tormenting benjamin netanyahu so now it is up to him. the three men we should be looking at most — they are all meant— benny gantz, avigdor lieberman and benjamin netanyahu. avigdor lieberman says we should have a national unity government without the ultraorthodox. benny gantz from the centre—left has echoed the same basically. hoping to have an alliance with avigdor lieberman to oust benjamin netanyahu. can lieberman to oust benjamin neta nyahu. can they lieberman to oust benjamin netanyahu. can they join lieberman to oust benjamin netanyahu. can theyjoin with benjamin netanyahu netanyahu. can theyjoin with benjamin neta nyahu may netanyahu. can theyjoin with benjamin netanyahu may with some rotation in the prime minister's office or depose benjamin netanyahu and have another leader to
capitalise under significant strength but without the baggage that benjamin neta nyahu strength but without the baggage that benjamin netanyahu brings. we are talking about exit polls at the moment. we're going hearfrom benjamin netanyahu imminently. you can see he's being greeted there by supporters and we are expecting him to mount that stage and some kind of speeds. so far, those exit polls following israel's second general election in five monthsjust following israel's second general election in five months just the results are simply too close to call. at the moment benjamin netanyahu's call. at the moment benjamin neta nyahu's party is call. at the moment benjamin netanyahu's party is predicted to get about 32—33 seeds, and the blue and white coalition, their opponent, they are projected at winning
(chanting) isaid he i said he would speak imminently... he is clearly enjoying the support and cheers from there. we await part benjamin yet and how you to speak. translation: -- benjamin yet and how you to speak. translation: —— benjamin netanyahu. friends, members of the party, my partners, as you can see, and like
you, i have hopes. this happened in the last day, and as you also know, it's better to lose your voice than to lose the state. i came here this evening with my wife, sara was that icame evening with my wife, sara was that i came here this evening with my wife sara to say thank you. thank you from the bottom of our hearts.
we love you, and we believe in you. we love you, and we believe in you. we went through, all of us, a most difficult campaign, and they want to say thank you to the ministers, the members of parliament and i will work shoulder to shoulder, we stick together, united in this election campaign, and we will stand united in our tasks ahead! for the good and the state of israel. i want to thank the state of israel. i want to thank the heads of state — the heads of
cities, the branch managers, all of the activists and volunteers, to every single one of them. i said that this election campaign was difficult, difficult is not quite the word. and i want to thank in this opportunity to our amazing, very unusual headquarters, and all of us together, we stood in a very slanted media campaign against us, such an unfair coverage against us. it didn't stop us, it didn't threaten us. we worked together and
we're still waiting for the real the final results. we are still waiting for the final results, but one thing is clear, the state of israel, people, i can hear you, please listen to me. i am simply losing my voice. one thing is clear, the state of israel is at a historical point of israel is at a historical point of time. we are facing huge opportunities and challenges, security challenges, state challenges, mainly the threat to
israel's existence from iran and its proxies. and we fight them tirelessly and fearlessly. in the last years, tirelessly and fearlessly. in the last yea rs, we tirelessly and fearlessly. in the last years, we brought security, power, economic and state and political growth, like we've never had before. we have to ensure that these achievements that we have all achieved together with hard work will be preserved for the next years as well. in the near time, we will
present the plan and the way negotiations will happen with the state of israel will form the future of the state of israel for generations to come. at this time, in order, for the benefit of all israel's ames, israel needs to be strong at the moment. a stable government, a zionist government does matter at the moment israel needs to be strong. a government which is committed to israel as a national state of the jewish people. there will be and cannot be a government that leans on anti— zionist parties. parties that do not agree with the existence of israel asa
agree with the existence of israel as ajewish agree with the existence of israel as a jewish and democratic state. parties that support bloodthirsty terrorists that kill our soldiers and our children — it cannot be. i spoke this evening with old partners in the right group —— all partners, they are all committed unilaterally to go together to work together for these and is —— these ends was the band in the next few days —— these
ends. and in the next two days we will enter negotiations in order to build a strong, zionist government and to prevent and anti— zionist, dangerous government stop this is what we need to do now, have a government that unites many immigrants in the country and does not discriminate against anybody who believes in israel as the national state of the jewish people. believes in israel as the national state of thejewish people. members, i thank you from the bottom of my heart. i thank you from the bottom of my heart to my beloved family, to my wife, sara, and my sons, you are what my life means, new, members of
the likud party, you are our support. thank you for all the support. thank you for all the support and love. i will continue to keep the state of israel with belief in the righteousness of our way. this is our stay, we don't have another one, we will keep it together, and we will do and succeed with the help of god —— this is our state. benjamin netanyahu getting a standing ovation there addressing supporters and members of the likud party. often saying his voice was failing him, support for him there,
but when it comes to those exit polls, as he himself has said, he needs to await the actual results, as we are awaiting those results. the exit polls at the moment suggesting benjamin netanyahu's likud party is projected at winning between 30—33 votes, whereas the blue and white coalition created by benny gantz is projected to win 32-34 benny gantz is projected to win 32—34 seats, and this is where the issue is. when it comes to israeli elections, the proportional representation within the israeli political system means that there will be an awful lot of political bargaining after the election. so, this will all depend on ultimately white avigdor lieberman will do stop he will end up as the king maker, deciding which party, whether it is blue—and—white or likud will create